2010-11 Faculty Lecture Series AnnouncedJuly 7, 2010
Eight lectures focusing on art, literature, mathematics, social movements, chemistry, and history will make up Hartwick’s 2010-11 Faculty Lecture Series. Beginning September 17, faculty members will discuss recent research in their field with members of the Hartwick community. The monthly lectures will be from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Eaton Lounge in Bresee Hall.
This year’s presentations will conclude May 6 with Professor of English Thomas Travisano, recipient of the 2010 Winifred D. Wandersee Scholar-in-Residence Award.
Arkell Hall Professor of Art Katharine Kreisher, Self as Object: Perspectives of Identity
Lecture description: From a gentle feminist perspective, Kreisher has been investigating concepts of self-definition throughout her career as an artist. In this lecture, she will speak about her ongoing self-portrait practice, which interrogates her own identity and sense of self in the world, and explores how these things can shift, shatter, and reassemble over a lifetime. She also will present work by other contemporary photo-educators who use self-portraiture, both in their own art-making and as a teaching tool, to explore everything from psychological concerns to racial and body issues to personal narratives to aging.
Professor of English David Cody, All These Things Are Not Without Their Meanings: New Light on Melville’s Moby Dick
Lecture description: In the 1940s, the great intellectual historian Perry Miller, himself an eminent Melvillean, loved to suggest that the Herman Melville industry had replaced whaling in the New England economy. Although there was a great deal of truth in that statement at the time, it may be even more true today, for ever since then, schools of academics assembled from all over the world have continued to swim in avid and more-or-less monomaniacal pursuit of Melville and his works. After nearly a century of intense scholarly interest resulting in hundreds of books and thousands of articles, few literary works have been so thoroughly or conscientiously annotated as the great whale of a book that crippled its author’s career. Despite this, however, the birth of new technology-based endeavors such as the Google Book project are making it possible not merely to expand and deepen our understanding of this manic, witty, moving, and dauntingly allusive masterpiece, but to shed light on cryptic allusions and internal mysteries that have long resisted elucidation. This talk will explore a number of new discoveries illuminating Moby Dick itself, as well as several of Melville’s stories and poems—discoveries that are contributions, as it were, toward a future, more perfectly annotated Melville.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics Min Chung, Wavelets, Mathematics in Real Life
Lecture description: How do people use mathematics in real life? One good example is wavelet analysis. Since it was developed in the early 1990s, the mathematical technique known as wavelet analysis has been found to be useful for many important applications, such as recognizing and removing unnecessary noise of sound/signal, digitally storing fingerprints without losing valuable information, and manipulating digital images to acquire information about them. This talk will discuss a simple technique called histogram equalization, with which we can improve digital photos and develop interesting outcomes. Chung also will discuss how wavelet analysis can be applied in order to remove noise from MP3 files.
Assistant Professor of Sociology Cecelia Walsh-Russo, My Country is the World: The Spread of Social Movements, From Anglo-American Abolitionism to the World Social Forum
Lecture description: Recent analysis on the overlap of global political movement organizations indicates that within the complex world of state borders and non-governmental organizations, changes or transformations that occur within this space are never complete and never secure. The space or location beyond, above, or across state boundaries is continually formed and reformed. Transnational social movement organizations work constantly to re-establish the realm or space through which their work is done, above or beyond the broader world of individual sovereign states through which they must also interact and grow. The work of transnational social movement activists and organizations dates back to the abolitionist era of the 19th century and extends into the 21st century era of anti-globalization protest movements. This talk will examine the history of transnational activism and discuss the implications of this history on today’s international political context.
Associate Professor of Chemistry Mark Erickson, The Greening of the Organic Chemistry Laboratory Course at Hartwick College
Lecture description: Organic chemical reactions and techniques are notorious for contributing to the generation of hazardous waste. Much of this is unavoidable, but it is still worthwhile to investigate methods that minimize or eliminate the use and production of hazardous materials. The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry provide a guideline to use when evaluating and designing chemical processes that can be safe and environmentally friendly. Solvents are the major component of most chemical reactions that often end up as hazardous waste. Chemical reactions that can be performed without the use of solvents or modified to utilize fewer toxic solvents such as water or alcohols can minimize the production of hazardous waste that is often associated with organic synthesis. This talk will present the results of Erickson’s Green Chemistry research performed with Hartwick College undergraduate students. He also will outline how it has changed the way the organic chemistry laboratory course can be taught. He will discuss factors that must be considered when attempting to green a chemical process and will include examples of chemical reactions that cannot be greened and those that have been modified according to the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry.
Professor of History Peter Wallace, Die Grenzen im Kopf: Imagining Walls, Borders, Frontiers, and National Identity in Alsace/Elsab--Some Historical Reflections
Lecture description: Though banned from entering France proper, Voltaire lived briefly in the Alsatian town of Colmar in 1753-54, where he planned to write a historical work, the Annales de l’Empire, from his new perch at this “window open to Germany.” His stay proved a disaster, and when he left the city, he referred to the Colmarians as “half-French, half-German, and totally Iroquois.” What was Colmar geo-politically in the 1750s, and who were the Colmarians? Where did the borders between France and Germany lay in the age of the Enlightenment? Political geographers draw distinctions in English between borders, usually conceived of as lines on a map, and frontiers, which are seen as zones. In German, the feminine noun grenze is often used for both, while in French, the feminine noun frontière, rooted in military history, also serves as a catch-all term. Scholars have traditionally argued that fuzzy, zonal frontiers gradually narrowed to borders between sovereign, post-Westphalian nation states. This paper will first review general themes in the debate among historians regarding frontiers, borders, and their relation to the political identities of historical nations. It will then discuss what insights a closer examination of Alsatian history can offer regarding this conceptual debate by exploring political identities in the pre-modern Upper Rhine Valley in light of the tensions among regionalists, nationalists, and “EU-ists” in post-modern Europe.
Associate Professor of History Sean Kelley, Gone to Africa: The Slaving Voyage of the Sloop Hare, 1754-55
Lecture description: This talk will reconstruct a single colonial-era slaving voyage, which ran from Rhode Island to Sierra Leone to South Carolina. The voyage of the Hare is unusually well documented. Records detail not only all of the slave dealers on the African coast who sold slaves to the ship, but all of the purchasers who bought the Hare’s captives in South Carolina. The voyage therefore offers an unprecedented opportunity to follow a single cohort of captives from their sale in Africa to the plantations of the New World, yielding new insights on questions of community, identity, and culture in the Diaspora. This lecture is based on a book in progress. The project has benefited from three Hartwick College Faculty Trustee grants, which allowed Kelley to conduct research on three continents, as well as an NEH Longterm Fellowship, which allowed him to spend a year in residence at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, the nation’s premier research library for early American history. Portions of the project have been presented at the American Antiquarian Society, the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation in Hull, England, the Harriet Tubman Institute for African Diaspora Studies at York University in Toronto, the Gilder Lehrman Institute at Yale University, and at the New England Regional Historical Seminar at Brown University.
Professor of English Thomas Travisano, The Life and Art of Elizabeth Bishop: A Biographer’s Notebook
Lecture description: Travisano has been actively engaged in Elizabeth Bishop studies since its very beginnings. Most recently, he delivered to the University of Virginia a co-edited collection of 17 essays titled The New Elizabeth Bishop: Reading the 21st Century Editions, a volume that is being considered for publication. With all of this work behind him, he is now embarking on a full-scale biography of Bishop that will draw on his extensive past experience with her work, while also incorporating a wide range of new biographical research. Travisano is planning, during the course of his Wandersee year, to visit many places important to Bishop, including Nova Scotia, Key West, Brazil, and her native Boston, Revere, and Worcester, Massachusetts. He also will further explore the major Bishop archives, especially those at Vassar College. Although unsure what new discoveries will turn up in the course of his scholarly adventures, Travisano’s plan is to report on these as part of this lecture. His goal is to engage the audience in the exploratory process, so they can share with him key experiences of discovery and surprise.
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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,480 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.
Contact: Jen Moritz